With the arrival of spring, bears have emerged from hibernation and we have received reports of bear activity in West Lebanon. Bears may be in other neighborhoods as well. Please use caution and do not approach a bear to take pictures. If you encounter a bear, remain standing and maintain non-threatening eye contact. Back away slowly, speaking in a soft, confident voice. Do not run or climb trees. If you have questions about bear-related problems, you can get advice by calling a toll-free number coordinated jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Wildlife Services and the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department: 1-888-749-2327 (1-888-SHY-BEAR).
Homeowners should take action to reduce the chances of a bear visiting their home. Avoid encounters with bears by taking a few simple precautions:
- Stop all bird feeding by April 1 or at the onset of extended spring-like weather conditions.
- Clean up any spilled birdseed and dispose of it in the trash.
- Secure all garbage in airtight containers inside a garage or adequate storage area, and put garbage out on the morning of pickup, not the night before. If using a dumpster, inform your dumpster company that you need a dumpster with metal locking tops and doors that are inaccessible to bears and other wildlife.
- Avoid putting meat or other food scraps in your compost pile.
- Don't leave pet food dishes outside overnight.
- Clean and store outdoor grills after each use.
- Finally, never feed bears!
These steps will help to ensure that your backyard does not become attractive to bears and other wildlife, which is important because it prevents property damage by bears and because it keeps bears from becoming nuisance animals. For more information on preventing conflicts with black bears, visit New Hampshire's Fish and Game "Something's Bruin in NH" page.